Engaging Vocabulary Games in Spanish

Inside: Vocabulary games for Spanish class. Engaging games for vocabulary in Spanish. Spanish vocabulary games for the classroom.

Vocabulary Games in Spanish Class shared by Mis Clases Locas

Why vocabulary games in Spanish class?

During my first couple of years teaching Spanish, I used pretty traditional methods. I had ancient En Español 1 & 2 textbooks to teach high school Spanish 1-4. That was it.

This meant giant vocabulary lists in Spanish. So I was always trying to mix it up by adding vocabulary games in Spanish and classroom games to learn vocabulary in Spanish.

I started Mis Clases Locas at the end of my second year of teaching when I was trying lots of new things. You can read more about my journey from a textbook to more Aquisition Driven Instruction and Comprehensible Input in this blog post >> Mis Clases Locas Curriculum for Spanish 1-4.

Vocabulary Games in Spanish Class shared by Mis Clases Locas

Vocabulary games in Spanish class

With my shift in instruction, I moved away from giant vocab lists of isolated words that needed to be memorized in a week. But even with my Super 7 unit to Start Spanish 1 or Comprehensible Spanish Novels there is still vocabulary that needs to be acquired. I know many teachers may get to teach how they want day to day, but there might be a summative unit or semester test that includes a lot of vocabulary.

I am not saying to teach to the test, but vocabulary games for the Spanish classroom can help. If you need to enhance your students’ Spanish vocabulary, but you would rather do it in a fun and engaging way, here are classroom games for vocabulary in Spanish.

Vocabulary games for the classroom using technology

Vocabulary Games in Spanish Class using technology shared by Mis Clases Locas

Once my school had 1:1 computers, my go-to 0 prep way to introduce new vocabulary of a class unit, story, or novel was classroom games using technology. Just go to a site, search the unit & hope a kind teacher made a set of vocabulary that you can just click play and use. I have longer blog posts on some of the games if you want more information.

Since I know many teachers are trying to move away from screens so much, this post focuses more on classroom games for vocabulary that do not require technology.

Vocabulary Games in Spanish Class shared by Mis Clases Locas

Spanish class games for many situations

If you do not need or want isolated vocabulary games for Spanish class, pick one of these blog posts that better fits your needs.

>> Classroom games for vocabulary in context Fun Spanish Classroom Games

>> Vocabulary games for the classroom using novels >> 20 20 Activities for Spanish Class Novels

>> Speaking Activities for Spanish Class

>> Writing Activities in Spanish Class

Vocabulary games for Spanish class without technology

As you can see above, I usually gravitate to vocabulary games and activities that use the vocab in the context of a sentence. But, there are times, when you need some repetition and drill of super important words and their meanings. Here are some old-school vocabulary games for Spanish class.

Vocabulary Games in Spanish Class - no technology needed! shared by Mis Clases Locas

Vocabulary Charades

Write down the list of Spanish words on small pieces of paper and place them in a basket. Have players take turns drawing a word and acting it out without speaking. Others guess the word in Spanish.

This Spanish vocabulary game can be played as a whole class. Or to mix it up, have multiple small groups playing Spanish vocabulary charades at the same time. Vocabulary charades work well for a quick 5-10 minute introduction of new words that are essential knowledge for a class story or chapter of a book.

Vocabulary games for the classroom using Flashcards

Print or create English & Spanish flashcards & use them for the following activities. If you plan to use the cards for multiple classes, games, or years, it is best to print on cardstock and laminate for durability.

Vocabulary Games in Spanish Class shared by Mis Clases Locas

Vocabulary Variation of What’s My Answer – full class game in 3 teams

To see how to use the original game with questions & answers read >> What’s my answer? – fun game

Print 3 sets of the vocabulary words on 3 different colors of cardstock, one word on each card. Divide the class into three teams that sit together. Give each team a set of one color of vocabulary words. You pick if you give them Spanish or English depending on your goals. Only give them one version at a time.

In each team, they should equally divide the vocabulary words. Each person is responsible for their set of vocabulary cards in front of them.

The teacher or a student helper reads a word or definition in Spanish. There should be 3 people, 1 on each team with the matching word. Those with the matching word race to bring their card to a specific spot in the front of the room. The team that first places the correct vocab word on the spot gets a point.

Continue until all words have been used. Then, shuffle the words in the group so each person is now listening for a different word. Or shuffle and now give the students the English word that then need to match to the Spanish word that was read.

Memory Matching Cards – Play in pairs or small groups

This is the traditional pre-school memory game. Place all the vocabulary cards face down. Players try to find matching pairs of English & Spanish cards by flipping cards over two at a time. If they get a match, they keep the cards. The player with the most matches at the end wins.

Vocabulary Spoons – play in a group of 3-6

Vocabulary Games in Spanish Class shared by Mis Clases Locas

Make a large stack of playing cards with 2 of each of the Spanish & English vocabulary words. You want at least 50 total cards in your stack.

Players sit in a circle. Have a set of plastic spoons in the center, with one less spoon than the players. Deal all players 4 cards.

The objective of Spoons is to be the last player remaining in the game by collecting sets of four matching cards and grabbing a spoon before your opponents.

  • The dealer starts the game by taking a card from the deck. They examine the card and decide whether to keep it or pass it to the player on their left.
  • The dealer then picks up the next card from the deck passed by the player on their right. The cards continue to circulate the table. Each player gets to keep the card or pass it on.
  • The goal is to collect a set of four matching cards 2 of each of the Spanish & English vocabulary words.
  • When a player collects a set of four matching cards, they discreetly grab a spoon.
  • Once a spoon is taken, other players must quickly grab a spoon. The player left without a spoon is out. (For class players who are out can work on a vocabulary practice worksheet)
  • The game continues until there is only one player left.

Old Maid – Spanish Vocabulary Game – play in a group of 2-6

Make a deck of cards with pairs of vocabulary words written on them, one in Spanish & one in English. Make One “Old Maid” card (a card with a picture or label of the Old Maid) & shuffle this card in. They should all look the same from the back. Use thicker cardstock so you can’t see through the cards.

  • Shuffle the deck of cards thoroughly and deal out all the cards to the players.
  • Players look at their cards. If a player has a pair, they place the cards face up on the table in front of themselves.
  • The player to the dealer’s left draws one card from any player. If the drawn card makes a pair with one of the cards in their hand, they lay down the pair. If not, they keep the card.
  • Play continues clockwise, with each player drawing a card from any player and trying to make pairs with the cards in their hand.
  • The game proceeds until all pairs of vocabulary words have been matched on the table.
  • The player left with the “Old Maid” card at the end of the game is the “Old Maid” and loses the game.
Vocabulary Games in Spanish Class shared by Mis Clases Locas

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